Association between leucocyte telomere length and cardiovascular disease in a large general population in the United States

Cheng Xu, Zhiqi Wang, Xiaoqi Su, Min Da, Zhaocong Yang, Weiwei Duan, Xuming Mo
Scientific Reports 2020 January 9, 10 (1): 80
Leucocyte telomere length (LTL) has been reported to be linked to ageing, cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). This study aimed to explore the association between LTL and CVD risk in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Complex associations, including nonlinearity and interaction, were also examined. A total of 7,378 subjects from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002 were collected. Telomere length was detected from DNA samples and expressed as the mean T/S ratio (telomere repeats per single-copy gene). We performed multiple logistic regression models and interactive analysis to explore the associations between LTL and CVD risk by adjusting for potential confounders. We also performed a sensitivity analysis to investigate the robustness of our results. Among all participants, LTL was associated with the risk of CVD (OR = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.63~0.98, P = 0.033) in a linear manner rather than in a nonlinear manner (P = 0.874). Interaction effects of LTL with both education (P = 0.017) and hypertension (P = 0.007) were observed. Furthermore, using subgroup analyses, protective effects of LTL on CVD risk were found in females and in individuals who were college graduates or above, had serum cotinine >10 ng/ml, did not have hypertension, or had normal white blood cell levels. LTL is linearly inversely associated with CVD risk in the general population of the United States.

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